It was Sam Martingell, one of our street campaigners, who sowed the seed for the main theme of this issue. He knew two young people who were desperate to communicate the wonders of Ecuador’s Yasuní rainforest, with a view to saving it and the cultures of its peoples from imminent destruction at the hands of oil companies.
Sam put the two – Ginés Haro Pastor and Georgina Donati – in touch with New Internationalist’s publications department. The result is a stunning photo book Yasuní Green Gold which will be published in September.
But we wanted to do more to draw attention to a potentially revolutionary proposal for tackling climate change: compensating oil-producing countries for loss of revenue as a result of their deliberately not exploiting fossil fuel reserves. Hence this month’s issue of NI, which we hope will help to explain the idea, stimulate interest, and save this ecologically crucial corner of the Western Amazon. The next few months are vital as the price of oil bites and the pressure on the Ecuadorian Government exerted by petroleum companies intensifies. But this could be the beginning of something quite momentous – a turning point not only for oil producing countries like Ecuador, but for all of us who would like to go on inhabiting this planet.
Also in this month’s issue of New Internationalist, we are venturing into a territory less common for a current affairs magazine – verse. ‘As if poetry mattered’, is how NI co-editor – and poet – Dinyar Godrej puts it, and his international selection manages to be both refreshingly immediate and hauntingly relevant.
While on the subject of creativity, few manage the fusion of politics, passion and imagination as well as Billy Bragg, whose latest album is reviewed on our Mixed Media pages. And to show that even those with massive clout don’t always win, we report on how the combined power of President Bush, BP, Barclays, Coca-Cola and Ford have failed to squash a multimillion dollar lawsuit against major corporations accused of persecuting South Africans by doing business with the apartheid regime. To find out what’s happening to the groundbreaking case, launched by former political prisoner Lungisile Ntsebeza and others, look at this month’s Currents section.
PS We would like to thank the Municipal Government of Orellana, Ecuador, for allowing us to use the pictures of Yasuní that appear in this magazine.
Vanessa Baird for the New Internationalist co-operative.
Photo: yasunigreengold.org / Mauro Burzio
Is Ecuador’s bold proposal not to exploit a billion barrels of oil in the Yasuní National Park a serious option for combating climate change? If so, the world is going to have to move fast, warns Vanessa Baird.
There’s an attractive simplicity to the Ecuadorian leader’s proposal. Rafael Correa has said that his government is prepared not to extract nearly a billion barrels of oil from Yasuní National Park, a part of the Amazon rainforest of extraordinary but fragile ecological and cultural richness. To do so, however, Ecuador will need to be compensated by the international community to the tune of at least $350 million per annum for the next 10 years. The June 2008 deadline for this proposal to save Yasu...
Ten days into the Tahdiya, or ‘Calm’ between Hamas and Israel, we haven’t seen anything change here inside Gaza. In fact the only real difference I’ve noticed is that over the last couple of weeks the power cuts have been worse than ever. Like many other people, I have power cuts at home for eight hours at a time now. So the food in my fridge gets ruined and wasted.
Please tell me how that contributes to security in Israel.